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Locals share reactions to earthquake

POLSON – The 5.8 magnitude earthquake, that a seismologist said was the state’s strongest since 1964, elicited some varied reactions from Polson residents. 

The 12:30 a.m. quake whose epicenter was six miles south of Lincoln was felt from Seattle to Billings on July 6, according to multiple news reports.

“It was a hot evening, and I had just dozed off to sleep,” said Angela Claver. “My bed started shaking weirdly. I sat up and thought, ‘Who’s in here?’”

She heard voices on the balcony outside her apartment so she joined the early morning conversation. 

“A California girl said, ‘That was an earthquake,’” and that was good enough for Claver. 

Taylor Rost, who lives near the Polson Airport, said the temblor woke her up. 

“I wasn’t sure what it was at first,” she said. “I closed my window because I thought it was really windy or something.”

Rost’s family woke up and began talking about it. 

“We thought it might have been a downed airplane,” she said. Then her sister called from Missoula and asked if they felt something. She found out what is was when she searched online. 

“I slept through it, but my brother woke me up,” said David Marshall, 16. “He looked kind of scared. I felt the aftershock though (a 4.9 quake that came five minutes later). I didn’t really like it.”

Heather Miles, who lives in downtown Polson next to U.S. Highway 93, said she thought it was a passing semi at first. 

“All my display dolls fell off my bookcases,” she said. “I have a friend in Billings who called me and asked me if I felt it.” 

Miles’ parents live in Superior. Her mother was awake and didn’t notice it, but her father was asleep and it woke him up. 

Miles said it was her third earthquake, adding that she slept through the first two that occurred when she was living in Idaho and Washington. 

“It felt like I was spinning,” said Abbi Dooley. “My head was woozy,” she said, noting the quake woke her up. She checked her 1908-era house but it was fine. 

Kendra Mullison said her aunt in Lethbridge, Alberta, felt it. 

“She texted me,” Mullison said. “I was immediately awake and knew what it was,” she said, adding that she has lived in California and experienced 8-10 previously. “This was one of the stronger ones,” she said. 

Mullison checked her gas and power lines to make sure they were OK. They were. 

“I heard sirens right after and then nothing,” she said, adding that police responded after the alarms at banks in town went off. 

Mullison, who is the youth services librarian at the North Lake County Public Library in Polson, said a guest speaker talked to children about the earthquake at a summer reading program Thursday morning. 

Allen Bone, who works with the Audubon Society and trains first responders, talked to 68 children about earthquakes for 20 minutes before moving on to the talk about birds. 

(Editor’s note: The reporter  who wrote this story woke up when he felt the quake in Woods Bay. He said it felt like the bed was spinning and he heard the wall creak. At first he thought his upstairs landlady had knocked over a piece of furniture but later discovered it was an earthquake when he checked Facebook and saw that a friend had posted “wild ride.”)


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